Wheelz: a P2P car-sharing service for students

Students at Stanford University should be satisfied with a new service, by the name of Wheelz. The service is similar to other car sharing platforms, such as RelayRides, GetAround, Zimride, and Zipcar, but Wheelz has backing from Chamath Palihaptiya; an early employee and ex-vice president of Facebook. The service has gained $2,000,000 in funding, and boasts some notable angel investors. Among these are the vice-chairman of Ernst & Young, Jim Freer, and the founder of Playfish, Sebastien De Halleax.

As TechCrunch reports, he technology platform Wheelz runs on was designed by Akhtar Jameel, who received the Smithsonian Computer World Innovations gold medal in 1997 for developing the world's first internet-connected car. The big names don't ensure the success of Wheelz, but the system is also linked with Facebook to help gain trust among students who are preparing to borrow a car from another student.

Unsurprisingly, the service also boasts an iPhone app. It also includes its own in-car hardware system, named "DriveBox". The hardware is installed in the car by employees from Wheelz, who apparently will take roughly an hour. The system allows other members from Wheelz to unlock the car via the iPhone app, or a Wheelz card. The company also provide a box for storing the key, where the car owners can easily leave the key for other members on the site.

The driver is expected to fuel the vehicle, rather than the owner, which seems reasonable. The start-up also covers insurance on the vehicle, thanks to a million-dollar insurance policy agreement. Their existing coverage is in no way affected by Wheelz' coverage, according to their website. While the concept is undoubtedly rather cool, the number of people willing to actually share their car may not be extremely high. The service already offers a selection of cars, as well as a calculator to estimate the rent price of a number of other vehicles. The number of vehicles available via the calculator is rather impressive, and ranges from the logical, to the extreme (such as the Maybach 62).

Wheelz have also released a video outlining their service on YouTube.

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13 Comments

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I'd never lend my BMW to anyone are you kidding me? Probably be trashed/smoked in by the time it was done... Transmission gone, etc. Screw that.

RedFlow said,
I'd never lend my BMW to anyone are you kidding me? Probably be trashed/smoked in by the time it was done... Transmission gone, etc. Screw that.

My Mazda RX8 is a manual... I'm not letting inexperienced people touch my stick! Hehe

RedFlow said,
I'd never lend my BMW to anyone are you kidding me? Probably be trashed/smoked in by the time it was done... Transmission gone, etc. Screw that.
You have to be stupid to think they haven't worked out a way to deal with this.

RedFlow said,
I'd never lend my BMW to anyone are you kidding me? Probably be trashed/smoked in by the time it was done... Transmission gone, etc. Screw that.

you probably don't need the extra money like dave in this video... this is for people who have average cars and would rather get paid while it sits idle. I am sure the company has some way of holding people reliable for damages to the car while they were driving it.

sharing your car... humm auto insurace companies will not like this, or even possibly drop you if someone else crashes your car.. I'd assume you have to use their insurance not your own... I know our property and casualty insurance coverage where I work would drop you if we found out you where loaning your car out to basically anyone

Stewart Gilligan Griffin said,
sharing your car... humm auto insurace companies will not like this, or even possibly drop you if someone else crashes your car.. I'd assume you have to use their insurance not your own... I know our property and casualty insurance coverage where I work would drop you if we found out you where loaning your car out to basically anyone

That's why Wheelz has their own insurance policy that covers the drivers using your car.

Stewart Gilligan Griffin said,
sharing your car... humm auto insurace companies will not like this, or even possibly drop you if someone else crashes your car.. I'd assume you have to use their insurance not your own... I know our property and casualty insurance coverage where I work would drop you if we found out you where loaning your car out to basically anyone

the video mentions 1million dollar insurance policy. did you watch it?